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ELECTORAL COMMISSION SHOULD TEMPER LEGALITY WITH REALITY

It seems the Electoral Commission of Ghana has taken an obdurate stand regarding the creation of 45 new constituencies prior to the 2012 elections in December. The EC insists that its actions are based on law and that it is only carrying out its constitutionally mandated duties. Well said.

The laws of the land must be respected by all, and an excellent attempt should be the target for all in observing the laws in advancing our governance credentials as a respected democratic nation.

I must insist that the NPP as I have come to known them, believe in the rule of law. The TUC believes in the rule of law. The Presbyterian Church of Ghana believes in the rule of law. Indeed all the concerned individuals and organizations who are advising the EC to hasten slowly on the creation of 45 new constituencies are all pro-rule of law. So it is not as if anyone is saying that the EC should disregard the laws of Ghana or it should fail to live up to its constitutionally mandated duties. That would be akin to a recipe for democratic disaster.

Legality or no legality, the Alarm-Bell-Sounders are patriotically awakening the EC and all Ghanaians to the fact that the law cannot stand, unless it is supported by a solid ground of reality. By the way, I am not a lawyer so please pardon me if I am off beat.

Without the concept of reality, the ground is hollow and legality would sink deep, without any effect. For example, one has the right to cross a road (busy or otherwise) as part of his/her freedom of movement. However, crossing of the road must be based on reality: Is there a road to be crossed, in the first place? Is it safe to cross the road at that point in time? Does the road design permits pedestrian crossing at the particular point? Etc. We can therefore see that even the legal act of road crossing must be supported by certain realities. How much more the creation of 45 constituencies with all the ramifications.

The EC is anchoring its actions of creating 45 new constituencies on the legal provision which says that it has the mandate to review constituency boundaries at a certain time interval or after the release of national enumeration figures.

The guiding word is REVIEW. How is the EC interpreting review? Is review so much a technical word that it has an embryonic meaning comprehensible only to the EC? I am a layman and I would look at “review” from my layman point of view.

From a layman's perspective there are two dimensions to a review. A review that results in Change, and a review that results in no change. The review that results in change has two dimensions: Positive change and negative change. In either direction (negative or positive), change resulting from a review can be significant or insignificant. This therefore leads us to a number of questions that the EC must endeavour to answer.

• How did the EC conclude that review of constituency boundaries should result in the increase in number of constituencies for the 2012 elections?

• Granted that an increase was necessary, how did the EC arrive at 45 constituencies and not 1, 2, 3, 7, 13, 20, 30, or even 60? The formular should be made public.

The concern of this writer however goes beyond the above issues. My concern is that the EC should remove the legal spectacles so that it can see piles of realities under the legalities, some of which could be very combustible and potential sources of “Had I known” for our amateurish democracy.

This is why I humbly request the EC to temper legality with reality. Some of the realities that may become obstacles to our democracy are that:

1. The creation of the 45 constituencies is too close to the 2012 elections and would result in poor organization on the part of EC and the political parties.

2. The EC has been very sloppy in its recent activities. There is no guarantee that the Commission can recover from its slackness all of a sudden. The EC should therefore not complicate matters for itself. I do not write off the EC, but my confidence in the Commission has reduced due to recent happenings.

3. The inexplicable interest of the NDC in the creation of the 45 constituencies smudges the independence and objectivity of the EC. Why is the NDC playing the PRO for EC on the 45 constituencies. “Asem beba dabi”.

4. The additional burden that the creation of the new constituencies would impose on the poor tax payer is not necessarily an act of absurdity, but it cannot be prudent either. Ghana cannot justify a large parliament. On the other hand if all of us should become MPs and do away with the current system of representation, let us debate it and reach a consensus.

The EC can talk about legal mandate, but I also insist on legality based on reality in the face of the forgoing. Wofa Kwadwo Afari Gyan, over to you.

On a lighter note, what is the problem with these GYANs from my Region, the Brong-Ahafo?

• One of them broke Ghana's heart twice with his disappointing penalty kicks. The Asamoah among the Gyans.

• One of them, a coup maker has literally licked his own vomit by joining the NDC that he condemned, and has gone ahead to be a parliamentary candidate on the ticket of that party. He is the Boakye among the Gyans.

• One of them is being so adamant with the creation of 45 constituencies inches to the 2012 elections. He is Wofa Kwadwo.

• One of them, the worst among them, has plotted to use fake national security operatives to disrupt our democracy. He is Y. B.

Prof. Gyan Baffour is also a Gyan from the region, but he is exceptional.

Please no fight ooo. This is just on the lighter note.

*The writer is a Health/Public Administrator and a Youth Development Advisor

Disclaimer: "The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article." © Fred Effah-Yeboah.